Highgate Albion, the first Middlesex affiliated club to reach the FA Sunday Cup final since Barnes Albion in 2013, played Baiteze FC in this season’s final at Millwall FC on Sunday. 1st May. The match was covered by our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter).
A Middlesex club has yet to win this competition, which started in season 1964-65. Apart from Barnes Albion, Bedfont Sunday (in 1993) and Brentford East (in 1974) have reached the final.
64 clubs were accepted into the competition for this season. Highgate Albion, who are members of the Barnet Sunday League, received walk overs, in round 1, against Skew Bridge and in round 2 against Falcons. They beat Burghfield (2—0 at home) in round 3, Club Lewsey (6-1 at home) in the quarter-final and Mayfair (3-2 at Solihull Moors FC) in the semi-final.
Baiteze, who are affiliated to London FA, play in the Essex Corinthian League. They reached the final with victories over Borussia Martlesham (in a penalty shoot-out, following a 0-0 home draw) in round 1, SE Dons (3-2 at home) in round 2, Grand Athletic (3-1 away) in round 3, Scawthorpe (4-2 away) in the quarter-final and Middlesbrough Dormans (in a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw) in the semi-final.
Baiteze made the perfect start, going ahead in the third minute. Then a hard fought and tense encounter developed and although Baiteze had more of the possession, Albion stayed in the game. However, Baiteze secured victory with a second goal in the 85th minute.
Baiteze took the initiative immediately and Domingos Pires tested Albion keeper, Alexandru Gauriloaia, with a fierce drive in the 2nd minute. They went ahead in the 3rd minute with a well worked goal. Adeyinka Cole released Samuel Jeremiah down the right wing and Samuel’s cross was converted at close range by Shomari Barnwell.
Shomari Barnwell puts Baiteze ahead
Baiteze continued to have the better chances. Domingos Pires set up Shomari, whose shot was deflected for a corner. Adeyinka Cole worked himself into a good position but his low cross was cleared.
Highgate Albion's keeper Alexandru Gauriloaia deals with a cornerHighgate Albion's keeper Alexandru Gauriloaia deals with a corner
At the other end, Solomon Ofori released Tage Kennedy, whose finish was narrowly wide.
Tage Kennedy's finish is narrowly wide
Samuel Jeremiah made ground up the right for Baiteze but Shomari didn’t get the required power onto Samuel’s cross. Then Kevin Krans won possession in the Albion box but fired over the bar.
The injured Highgate keeper leaves the field
In the 20th minute, Albion keeper, Alexandru Gauriloaia came a long way out of his penalty area, in an unsuccessful quest for the ball. He twisted his knee in the process and had to watch while Shomari Barnwell shot at the empty goal, from around 30 yards out. Fortunately for Albion, he missed but Alexandru could not continue and was replaced by substitute keeper, Luke Ward.
A good Baiteze move set up Samuel Jeremiah but he was just off target from a narrow angle.
Jordan Edwards won a tackle for Albion and released Solomon Ofori. Baiteze keeper, Muhammad Otuyo, saved from Solomon and they collided. The keeper was hurt but he resumed after a lengthy period of treatment.
A close-range effort by Solomon was charged down and a concerted appeal for a penalty for handball was ignored. Billy Hayes combined with Hassan Sheikh and Solomon Ofori but the latter fired over the bar.
Solomon Ofori shakes off a challenge
With 40 minutes played, the Baiteze keeper required further attention but he eventually played on. He was soon dashing out of his area to clear from Solomon who had been released by an excellent cross-field ball.
Albion’s stand-in keeper, Luke Ward came out of his area and brought down Samuel Jeremiah. Luke received a yellow card for the offence.
Mainly because of the medical attention required by both goalkeepers the first half overran considerably and it was announced that a minimum of 9 additional minutes would be played.
A low shot from the edge of the penalty area by Baiteze skipper, Adeyinka Cole was saved by Luke Ward. Then a header by Highgate’s Ian Maitland, from Hassan Sheikh’s long ball was saved by Muhammad Otuyo.
Half time score: Baiteze 1 Highgate Albion 0
Baiteze had a great chance to increase their lead, 5 minutes after the interval. Samuel Jeremiah made a good run and set up Malachi Napa, who hit his shot wide. They had more chances. Malachi drove wide from the edge of the box. Kevin Krans’ close-range flick was diverted over the crossbar. Luke Ward made a good diving save to keep out Malachi’s shot and then saved at close range to deny Shomari Barnwell.
Luke Ward saves from Malachi Napa
Although Baitese’s speed on the break was stretching Highgate Albion, they were managing to stay in the match. Albion defender, Aaron Scott made a saving tackle on Samuel Jeremiah.
Shomari hit the side netting from Malachi’s cross. Then Luke Ward saved from Malachi Napa, Kevin Krans and then Malachi again.
Newly introduced Albion substitute, Excellence Mukemba latched onto a through ball from Solomon Ofori and cut in but shot into the side netting. Excellence made another run and forced a corner, which the keeper took high up. He then won the ball in a tackle and passed to Tage Kennedy, whose shot was deflected over the bar.
Alex Teniola's shot crashes against Albion's crossbar...
Another newly introduced substitute, Chakka Barnett, scored the crucial second goal, to seal victory for Baiteze with 5 minutes of normal time remaining. Chakka set up Alex Teniola, who crashed a shot against the Albion bar. The ball bounced back into play and Chakka followed up to head it into the net.
...and Chakka Barnett heads the rebound home for Baiteze's second
During the 5 minutes added time, Biateze went close to scoring again in some frantic goalmouth action but were thwarted by a combination of a goal post and the Albion keeper, who made a double save.
Highgate Albion survive some frantic goalmouth action
Final score: Baiteze 2 Highgate Albion 0
Despite their defeat to very good opponents, Highgate Albion should be proud of their achievements this season. They produced some excellent performances in reaching the final and then made Baiteze fight all the way for their eventual victory. Futhermore, their second and fourth teams won their respective Middlesex trophies, the Sunday Intermediate Cup and the Sunday Junior Trophy.
Highgate Albion: Alexandru Gauriloaia (Luke Ward 20 mins), Robert Magwood, Kyle Brindle, Hassan Sheikh, Pete Riley, Billy Hayes, Jordan Edwards (Excellence Mukemba 72), Aaron Scott, Tage Kennedy, Solomon Ofori and Ian Maitland (capt) (Adam Tripp 53).
Unused substitutes: Akram Mohamed, Jayden Clarke and Richard Ennin
Baiteze: Muhammed Otuyo, Domingo Pires, Alex Cruikshank, Harry Gibbs, Kevin Krans, Malachi Napa, Samuel Jeremiah (Chakka Barnett 80), Tommie Hession (Mustafa Kahie 80) , Usman Adenji, Shomari Barnwell (Alex Teniola 75) and Adeyinka Cole (capt).
Unused substitutes: Ibrahim, Shermandin Artmeladze and Steven Carvell
Referee: Lee Swabey Assistant Referees: Greg Read and Daniel Flynn Fourth Official: Sunny Gill.
We thank Chris & Jim for travelling to South London to take in this entertaining fixture, Chris & Jim have selected imagery from the key moments to bring the report to life, Chris has also generously provided a full album of imagery from the match.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full album courtesty of Chris Benn